The Printing Process

Printing a Self-Published Photobook

My head is spinning, I feel like I’m going slowly insane with the rhythmic clacking that fills the air, Pablo and I are giggling like children – somewhat high from the fumes and running on pure adrenaline. This is what it’s like to be watching a year of work come out of an offset printer. There’s nothing quite like it.

Wesley and I had set off for Myanmar 9 months earlier. We prepared ourselves for every eventuality with medicines, batteries, clothing, and backup equipment. Even through the days of food poisoning that plagued us for a little too long, it was tough not to smile and make the best of the situation. We were living out our dreams. We were creating just for us, just for pleasure.

The trip had its share of difficulties. Translation is difficult in the villages because of a lack of formal education for many of the residents. This proved to be our biggest challenge. We also had our boat break down a couple of times, and had a few days without drinking water. But for all this, it was worth it and really not that hard once you get into it.

Then came the printing. This is the part we thought was going to be easy. We were dealing with “professionals” recommended by a local designer. They had years of experience and were confident that they could produce a quality product for us. Not so.

The first print had a severe magenta cast to it. In a photo book, this is simply unacceptable. The second, one of the plates had got some dust on it, putting spots on one of the portraits. Again, unacceptable. The third? Perfection. Three rounds of printing, thousands of dollars, several glasses of whiskey, and a few new grey hairs later, we were staring at the product we had envisioned.

This process took almost two months, and delayed our Kickstarter deliveries more than we would have liked. But we got it done and now the book is available! Get it on this site and in Myanmar through Rangoon Tea House, Myanmar Book Centre, and Htwe Kyi. It is out in the world to serve its purpose of supporting the Lai Tu people.

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